In an interview for FishDuck.com Thursday, I spoke with Oregon’s offensive lineman Doug Brenner at the Hatfield-Dowlin Complex.
Football is rough and rugged. It will often leave you with scars, sore muscles and bruises. In a season that has been full of injuries, no team knows that better than the Ducks. Although Oregon’s record indicates that they’re 9-1, which has them at the top of the Pac-12 Conference, and second in the College Football Playoff standings, it hasn’t been an easy road. Injuries to prominent players including Hroniss Grasu, Pharaoh Brown, Jake Fisher and Keanon Lowe have been obstacles the Ducks are working to overcome.
Fortunately, it seems like Oregon always has a player ready to contribute. Brenner, the Ducks’ backup center, was rushed into the game against Utah this past Saturday after Grasu went down with an apparent knee injury. Brenner says this bye week couldn’t have come at a more perfect time. “We’re taking advantage of the bye week, and trying to get everyone healthy,” he said. “We’re starting to talk about Colorado and getting ready for next week, but we’re really taking advantage and trying to get healthy.”
Grasu’s availability for next week’s game hasn’t been confirmed; however, Brenner says that he is using this extra time off to get more snaps during practice. “I’m going to be ready for whatever they (coaches) throw at me,” he said. “If coach (Steve) Greatwood wants me in there, I’ll be ready, so I’m excited.”
Although Brenner was unexpectedly thrown into the game last Saturday, he says he felt he played well, but he definitely sees room for improvement. “Obviously I had a couple low snaps. I have a long way to go,” he said. “I have to continue to learn as much as I can from the older guys, like Hamani (Stevens). Jake (Fisher) really helped me out a lot when I was in there, and other than that I’m just trying to learn from Hroniss (Grasu).”
Brenner said the transition from high school to college football was one of the toughest things he ever experienced. Luckily, he says Grasu has been there from Day 1 to help him adjust to the college game. “I’ve learned so much from Hroniss,” Brenner said. “Having him as a mentor is extremely valuable to me, especially as far as building confidence and making calls.”
The Ducks will continue to rest their battered players this week, while also looking ahead to their upcoming matchup against Colorado.
Top Photo by Kevin Cline